It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is only weeks away. Seeing the first Advent candle lit in Church this past Sunday reminds us all to focus on the real reason for the season—the gift of the Christ child. These next few weeks are designed to draw us closer to God and allow us to prepare our hearts and minds for the arrival of the Christ child.
Oftentimes, it can be challenging to focus on the real reason for the season when our children, loved ones and the media keep reminding us that we need to BUY, BUY, BUY. While we strive to keep Christ in Christmas, we still need to get some shopping done.
Christmas can be a huge financial stressor to many families. The average family spends about $1,000 during Christmas on gifts, meals, cards, etc. Unfortunately, they are typically reaching for a credit card to make those purchases. Getting into more and more debt will not elicit feelings of comfort and joy.
So, how can you ensure that you don’t go into debt at Christmas? It may be too late for this year, but we’ve compiled 4 ways to help you manage your Christmas spending and avoid going into credit card debt for Christmas 2015:
- Plan. While it can be incredibly challenging to be thinking about Christmas in January, we encourage you to plan how much you can afford to spend on next Christmas in early 2015. Your plan needs to be based on how much you can afford for Christmas, taking into consideration all of your other spending, not how much you want to spend.
- Self Layaway. In January, open a free savings account at your bank and begin a Christmas savings fund. If you know that you’ll be spending $1200 next Christmas, simply put away $100.00 a month. By creating your own layaway program, you’ll avoid racking up debt and interest charges.
- Manage Expectations. As parents we love to shower our children with gifts. The reality is that your kids can only focus on 3 to 4 toys or gifts, so start managing their expectations early. This is an excellent opportunity to instill lessons about contentment, not greed!
- Shop Smart. We are all busy. Christmas shopping can be a challenge and sometimes, we just have to wait until the last minute to get things done. When you wait until the last minute, you may not be getting the best price on the particular items you’re buying. If you see a great deal on a gift months prior to Christmas, simply use your Christmas layaway account. You’ll not only get an early start, you’ll save some money (and a lot of frustration) at the same time.
Simply put, planning next years Christmas early in the new year will help you save money, time and aggravation. To learn more money saving Christmas tips, you may wish to listen to our radio show entitled Christmas Spending:https://compasscatholic.org/archived-radio-shows/
These words from Pope Francis help to frame the entire season of Advent: “This is the horizon that makes a good journey,” The time of Advent that we begin again today returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God, a hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints. He is faithful.”
Thanks for reading our blog, and on behalf of the entire team at Compass Catholic, we wish you a joyous and peace filled Advent season.